When I decided to be a stay-at-home mom, it was really so I could hang out with my kids and soak up every moment of their early lives. I feel like I am living up to that – and then some. My life is filled with fort building, picnics, crafts, hikes, day trips to the city, library visits, playgrounds and lots of floor time with my 2 sons, and I love it. But part of being a stay-at-home mom also involves the running of the household, and this is not something that is a natural fit for me.
I will state it plainly. I am a lousy cook. I can’t sew. I have no eye for decorating. I hate shopping, meal planning, and gardening. I am not handy, and I break stuff. I don’t pay the bills.
Now, one area that I will admit to excelling in is cleaning. Give me the time, and I can keep an amazingly clean house (and am happy to do so). I enjoy methodically working through a room and seeing the transformation from messy to clean. I would much rather clean up after a huge holiday meal than be the one to prepare it. But I think this is the only area I can claim domestic mastery.
It’s not that I don’t try. I do!
In some areas, I am just a slow mover. For example, in our first home, it took me 6 years to decide on what color to paint the walls of our main room. I then completed the job only to collapse on the floor sobbing to my husband that I felt like I lived in a giant mint cookie (I had settled on a light green). Yes, I knew it was just paint and it could be changed, but it took so much out of me to make and execute the plan that I knew I would never change it.
I am also plagued with gaps where the normal domestic hard wiring in my brain should exist. I can’t walk into an empty room and plan out what should go in there, nor how to use the furnishings that I already have. It took me years to figure out how to select the right couches for our living room. And I got so used to having it bare that it was a shock to keep adding pieces and realize it felt homey, not crowded as I had assumed it would.
I have zero kitchen common sense. This is the area I work the hardest on but still come up short. I can pull off your taco night or your spaghetti feed. But when it comes to cooking real, grown up dinners, I have a 50/50 shot at whether it will be edible.
I remember one time when I was trying to make cheese soup from scratch. The recipe called for 1 cup of dill (yes…I checked it 3 times…1 cup!). In retrospect, this must have been a typo on the recipe. But I stood there, slowly adding obscene amounts of dill, even though I knew it seemed odd. But who was I to second guess? Recipes knew better, and I hoped it would magically turn into some amazing culinary triumph. It was a cheesy, clumpy dill mess.
When you add in the extra time to get special ingredients and prepare these meals with your chances of success being minimal, and you have picky children who probably won’t try it anyway….let’s just say my motivation runs low.
I’ll further own up to the fact that there are the times that I am just too dang lazy to put in more effort. I wash all my laundry in one giant heap. Clothes, underwear, towels, sheets….it all goes in, whites and colors mixed together…on cold. I let the laundry gods sort it out, and whatever is meant to happen with our wardrobe will happen. It’s no wonder that my husband chooses to do his own laundry.
Speaking of my husband, he has a much better domestic sensibility than me. He can cook. In fact, he handles preparing the Thanksgiving turkey every year because I am squeamish about handling raw meat still attached to the carcass. He is very handy, and he can sew. He likes to make his own lightweight hiking gear, which prompted the purchase of the first proper sewing machine for our household. It’s this impressive piece of equipment that looks like it has hieroglyphics on the side. He keeps it with his personal effects, and when I ask where it is, he responds, “What for?” (He knows I cannot be trusted). When a button falls off my pants or drapes need to be altered, I call in my husband for assistance.
So I have been dealt a deck that is a few cards short in the domestic department. But as I am the “homemaker” in this family, shouldn’t I be able to do these things that typically make a home?
I have learned to cut myself some slack. It may not always be beautifully decorated with fresh-baked bread coming out of the oven, but in my own way, I have contributed to making a happy home for my husband and kids. Sure, my sons will never grow up and tell their friends, “No one makes this dish like my mom” (unless they are saying it with a negative connotation). But I am confident they will remember having fun and feeling loved. And in the meantime, I am still trying to tap into my inner domestic goddess.
Ahem: If you are in there and listening, Oh Mighty Goddess…throw me a bone, will ya?
What domestic areas do you excel in? Where are your homemaker gaps? How does this impact the running of your household?
This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Tara B. of Washington (State) USA.
Photo credit to Tara B.